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Categoria: The WineNews Corner

Firenze - 23 Ottobre 2006, ore 18:24

ITALIAN RESTAURANTS ABROAD ARE THE TRUE ENGINE FOR GROWTH FOR ITALIAN FOOD EXPORTS, PARTICULARLY WINE: AFFIRMATION BY PIEDMONTESE WINE PRODUCER, ANGELO GAJA

“Italian restaurants abroad are the true engine for the increase in demand for Italian food products: pasta, rice, preserves, cold cuts, cheeses, olive oil, grappa, and, obviously and particularly, wine”. This was the affirmation made recently by Piedmontese wine producer, Angelo Gaja (one of the most important names of “Made in Italy” products) in an exclusive interview with www.winenews.it.
Gaja used the example of the Unites States, the country in which both Italian wine exports (with an increase of 9.1% in quantity and 7.5% in value), and food are experiencing a golden age: “From surveys taken regularly in the States, year after year, the result is that Italian cuisine is by the far the American’s favorite. As for the quality, there were many in Italy who turned up their noses because they often found it to be heavy, dated, and lacking in research and fantasy. But Americans find it extraordinary, regardless of the fact that in the past Italian cuisine often had to accommodate to their tastes. It must be noted that in the last twenty years Italian cuisine has greatly improved, has gone to school, has been divulged by excellent writers who have revealed not only our recipes, but also our soul”.
“Instead” – continued Gaja – “it is easy to see that in foreign countries where the Italian restaurant business is weak, the exportation of Italian food products is weak as well. On some markets, like China, India, and Russia, whose economies are destined to grow a lot in the future, Italian restaurants are rare (apart from the city of Moscow) because our migratory flows have not found an outlet, and thus, there is less of the precious work of education on Italian cuisine and the Italian lifestyle. Fortunately, today, Italy no longer sends emigrants out into the rest of the world, and it is rare to find cooks who are willing to move abroad, even though the demand for Italian cooks is high abroad and remains largely unsatisfied. This is the problem: if we want the export of goods to increase we must favor the expansion of Italian restaurants in foreign countries where we are most meager, or rather, we must favor the training of Italian cooking abroad. We must more actively support those who have already opened Italian cooking schools abroad, and also adding more to this, with native language speakers who have Italian assistants. This does not need particularly large investments: it just needs to be understood that it is a medium-long term project that must be developed in a serious and continuous way, renouncing folklore”.
Angelo Gaja concluded by talking about the Michelin guide and how it is a “tool of colonization” for French cuisine: “The Michelin guide has a grand tradition and knew how to earn absolute credibility everywhere, giving to its country a precious service of divulging French cuisine, awarding its best interpreters, offering privileged space for French food products around the world: wines, cheeses, jams, black truffles, foes grass. Is it possible that in Italy there is not an illuminated entrepreneur, a private entity capable of launching a global editorial project like that of the Michelin guide? Doesn’t Michelin offer an inspirational example? Why leave absolute world dominion to the Michelin guide? Serious and fair competition couldn’t be but helpful to it as well”.

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